Class Action Lawsuit
New York law firm Zwerling Scacheter & Zwerling must have been drooling when they won a class action lawsuit against Renaissance Cruises Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Florida on the claim that Renaissance charged too much for port fees and thus won a $2.9 million judgment against them. The way the award split was to happen was that the law firm would get $1.4 million in legal fees, paid in U.S. cold hard currency, while the remaining $1.5 million would be divided among the 80,000 or so plaintiffs as $10 or $60 travel vouchers good only on very expensive future cruise bookings with Renaissance.
Enter Broward County Florida Circuit Judge Robert Lance Andrews who was livid as he attacked the plaintiffs’ attorneys for greediness in launching what he called a “ridiculous class action” and for belittling the public service they claimed to have provided. He was incensed because the travel vouchers are essentially worthless but they made sure to get cash for themselves.
So what did Judge Andrews do?
He slashed the legal fees from $1.4 million to $294,000. But wait! There’s more!
He felt that since the attorneys thought travel vouchers were adequate compensation for the 80,000 plaintiffs, he ruled that a quarter of the $294,000 was to be paid to the attorneys in the very same $10 and $60 travel vouchers they had won for the plaintiffs.
Reported at overlawyered.com around 15 March 2001.